No BWest, no big deal

Posted: June 08, 2009

OK, take a deep breath and relax.

Not only is this Brian Westbrook situation nothing to panic about . . . yet, but also the Eagles are fine at running back with the players currently on the roster.

First off, this whole situation probably isn't as big a deal as it seems. I understand that there isn't much Eagles related to discuss currently, as the OTAs are fairly non-newsworthy. Brian Westbrook had successful surgery [Friday] and informed Andy Reid and head trainer Rick Burkholder that he was doing well post-surgery.

Westbrook will be on a non-weight-bearing cast for two weeks and then take it from there day by day. Westbrook will then begin to work one-on-one with Burkholder on his rehab. Hopefully, he will be ready to go at some point during training camp, or if not, by mid-August and ready by the regular season. There is no need to panic just yet.

It would not be a smart idea to bring in a veteran running back, especially one like Edgerrin James, who is looking to be a No. 1 running back somewhere. If you add a veteran running back, and Brian Westbrook turns out to be healthy by the time the season starts, you then have an overload at the running back position.

The Eagles are counting on LeSean McCoy to play a large role in the offense this season. But just for the [heck] of it, let's take a look at some of the running backs the Eagles could add:

Edgerrin James: You can't sign a guy like this who gets upset when he doesn't get enough carries and flat out is past his prime. Edge wants to be the No. 1 option, and he wouldn't be on this team.

Warrick Dunn: Another guy who is past his prime and at this point doesn't give you anything that you don't get from the other smaller backs on the team except blocking.

Deuce McAllister: Deuce is a good big back but is coming off torn ACLs in both legs. And again, he is past his prime.

Michael Pittman: Was never that good to begin with and is more of a fullback. Pittman is, surprise surprise, also past his prime.

There are other guys in the mix such as Ahman Green and J.J. Arrington, whom the Eagles can look [at], but they simply do not need to, even if Westbrook is seriously injured. I will continue to tell everyone who listens - LeSean McCoy is the real deal. The Eagles are in good hands with LeSean McCoy, and he is the running back of the future and is a beast.

Another reason is that fullback Leonard Weaver knows the West Coast offense and can both run the ball and catch the ball. Look for Weaver to get some carries this season, unlike Eagles fullbacks of the past.

The person who may be most affected by this is Lorenzo Booker. He may have a better chance to make the team now, even if Westbrook comes back healthy, simply because Booker can take some of the pressure off McCoy, so McCoy doesn't have to carry the entire load as a rookie.

You also have a guy in Kyle Eckel who can play both halfback and fullback and was effective rushing the ball last season when he was given the chance.

Not only do I believe the Eagles have the personnel to succeed in the backfield should Westbrook stay injured, they also don't need to sign another guy because the Eagles flat out don't use that many running backs. Besides Westbrook, Correll Buckhalter only ran the ball 76 times last season and was very effective when he ran it. And that number of carries includes two starts for Buckhalter last season when Westbrook was injured.

So let's not push the panic button just yet and wait and see how this situation plays out. Westbrook should be fine by the start of the regular season. And in the slight chance that he isn't, you are still in good hands in the backfield.

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